Native 1

So, by now, you may have been wondering about that cool image at the top of this blog. It’s a depiction of the capture of John Lawson by the Tuscarora during the 1711-1713 Tuscarora War.

One issue that continues to surface in doing my research is some connection to Virginia and North Carolina Native Americans. In particular, I am consistently led back to speculation about the Saponi indians, specifically these records:

27 Jan 1742 Orange County, Virginia: Thursday the XXVIIth day of January   MDCCXLIII  “Alexander Machartoon, John Bowling, Manicassa, Capt. Tom, Isaac,  Harry, Blind Tom, Foolish Jack, Charles Griffin, John Collins, Little Jack. Indians being brought before the court by precept under the hands and seals of Wm Russell & Edward Spencer, Gent. for terrifying one Lawrence Strother and on suspicion of stealing   hoggs……..”


25 Jan 1745 Louisa County, Virginia Court: William Hall, Samuel Collins, William Collins, Samuel Bunch, George Gibson, Benjamin Brannum, Thomas Gibson, & William Donothan appear to answer an indictment for concealing tithables. Plead not guilty, Case continued.

Why does this constantly come up? Because the two most distant possible relatives are Samuel Collins and William Collins. However, Gates County is quite far from Louisa County (about 175 miles away), I have never considered these people to be my ancestors. It is interesting that listed among them is Samuel Bunch. We do know from records that Joseph Collins, the son of John Collins who died in Bertie County in 1752, married Rachel Bunch. There seems to be a longstanding, old affiliation between these two families.

In my own research, I have not turned up any evidence that specifically points to native heritage. I have, however, found three documents that hint that my ancestors may be multiracial. The first is the death record of Elvy Russell (1792-1857). This was the nephew, I believe, of my direct ancestor Thomas Collins (1768/69-1849) and his wife Anna Russell, as Anna Russell’s brother, James Russell, was the father of Elvy. On most records his race is not recorded, or he is listed as white. Yet on his death record, his race is ‘B’ – black, or colored. Elvy Collins (1806-1870), the first cousin of Thomas Collins, has the same story. His death record, in 1870, lists his race as ‘B,’ where all other records list him as white or do not give his race. Finally, there is the marriage record in 1843 between Jane Collings and Henning Boothe where the bondsman is listed as Thomas R. Colored — this would be Thomas Russell Collins, father of Jane, brother of Graham Collins,my direct ancestor, and son of Thomas Collins (1768/69-1849). All of these records are from Gates County.

More recently, I have turned up evidence of another Collins family living across the river in Winton, Hertford County, that was called Indian on the 1900 census. This is the family of John Bembry Collins (b. 1843) who was the son of William Collins (b. 1810) and Jane Bizzell. Here is an interesting Rootsweb post from back in 1998, attributed to Marilyn Mejorado-Livingston with the Southern Band Tuscarora.

Ok the Lewis's are in the Meherrin Indian Tribe located in Winton, Hertford Co. NC. Elvy Lewis married Sally M. Smith, a Tuscaroran, her descendants claim to be the only Meherrin left, who came down to Hertford Co. NC from Emporium VA. Also the Brown's are in the Meherrin Tribe, hinging directly off Sally Lewis, whose Husband Reuben Lewis, was the founder and first Chief of the Meherrin. The Lee's are Tuscarora, in the Southern Band Tuscarora, as well as Smith's, and Brown's too.

The post she was responding to provided the following information.

Will of LUTON LEWIS, Gates County, Oct 22, 1807; Aug. Crt. 1811.
Wife Peggy; Sons: ELVEY*, Luton, Phillip & child in esse; Brother: Phillip; Daughters: Elizabeth, Nancy and Priscilla Lewis; Test: Jos. Speight, Eff Lewis.

Lewis, Molley, Gates Co., Oct 6, 1821; Feb. Court 1822.
Test: Ira, Richard and Asa Odom**

Lewis, Luton, Gates Co., April 29, 1815; August Court 1815.
Grandfather: JOHN SMITH
Test: James Boothe, John Smith, Jesse Arline.

So, this is very interesting. We have someone from the Southern Band of Tuscarora identifying Elvy Lewis as either native American or someone who married into a native family group. We see that the maternal uncle of this individual was Benjamin Odom, of the same family that was associated with John Collins (d. 1752), who likely married Martha Odom, and we find James Boothe and Jesse Arline. Boothe is perhaps from the same family as Henning Boothe who married Jane Collins (Thomas Collins’ granddaughter, Thomas R. Collins’ daughter), and Jesse Arline is a direct ancestor — he is the father of Nancy and Polly Arline, the wives of Graham Collins and Thomas Russell Collins, respectively.

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